Colleen Swindoll-Thompson has built a wonderful Special Needs Ministry at Insight. She does a weekly blog and maintains one of the most popular disability ministry-related pages on Facebook. Colleen is gifted in providing comfort and encouragement to mothers of children with a wide range of disabilities and has demonstrated how technology can be used to support a very relational ministry on the Internet.
In addition to her blog and Facebook page, Colleen has been conducting a series of in-depth video interviews with leaders who have firsthand experience with the struggles families experience when kids have disabilities. She’s interviewed a number of leaders familiar to readers of our blog, including Cindi Ferrini, David Glover, Emily Colson and Joni Earickson Tada. I’m honored to be the subject of her interview for December.
Our interview was focused on the theme The Mission Field Next Door…Serving Kids with Mental Health Disorders and Their Families. In our interview, Colleen and I had the opportunity to discuss the challenges families face in attending church when kids have mental illnesses from their struggles to navigate the ministry environments in which other kids and teens are able to thrive. We explored some strategies for churches seeking to radically expand their disability outreach beyond the traditional “special needs” population, and considered why families impacted by mental illness may not view existing special needs ministries as useful. Here’s a link to Colleen’s blog post on the interview…you can watch the interview in its’ entirety there.
Insight has had a long history of supporting disability-related ministry. Stonebriar Church published one of the early manuals for churches seeking to establish special needs ministries. Chuck Swindoll has authored a short book, When God’s Gift Comes Specially Wrapped (available here in appreciation for a donation to IFL) in which he draws upon the teaching of Scripture and his own personal experience to discuss children with special needs children and their place in God’s kingdom.
Chuck was very gracious in agreeing to serve as our keynote speaker for our inaugural Inclusion Fusion Web Summit. Here’s his brief talk on the challenges families, church staff and volunteers face in demonstrating the love of Christ to persons with special needs.
While you’re over at the Insight for Living site, please check out their recommended resources. They have some fabulous books, CDs and .mp3 resources to provide encouragement and hope to families struggling with the unique burdens that often occur in the course of raising a child with a disability.
Updated December 4, 2013